Many people avoid getting drug or alcohol addiction treatment for fear of losing their careers, fear of being unable to provide for their families, or fear of not being hired by future employers.
However, drug and alcohol abuse can affect work performance and a person’s ability to manage their day-to-day responsibilities. Not getting help for addiction out of fear of losing your job is a disservice to yourself. Individuals who receive treatment for their substance use disorders are more likely to hold onto their jobs and often get better jobs in the future. If you need addiction treatment and you’re wondering, “Can I get my job back after rehab?” our Philadelphia addiction center can help.
How to Talk to an Employer About Rehab
Drug addiction and alcoholism can affect your work performance. Although many people are hesitant to go to rehab because they don’t want to lose their jobs, they don’t realize that not getting help isn’t any better. If you’re in this situation, you may slowly begin to realize how you’re falling behind on your tasks at work. Your usual workload may become too much to handle, which can cause issues with your employer. The best way to avoid losing your job to addiction is by seeking out treatment and letting your employer know what you want to do.
When talking to your employer about going to rehab, follow these steps:
- Be honest about why you need addiction treatment.
- Make sure all of your tasks and responsibilities at work are completed and coordinate with other coworkers to take care of any tasks while you’re absent.
- If you’re concerned about your coworkers’ reactions, just tell them you’re taking a leave of absence.
Protection for Addicts in Recovery
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people in addiction recovery from discrimination in the workplace, which means that your employer can’t fire you based on your decision to receive addiction treatment. Suppose you feel that your employer has discriminated against you at work after deciding to go to rehab. In that case, you can file a charge of discrimination against them with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This law applies to all state and local government employers and private companies with 15 or more employees.
Additionally, some people qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows employees to take 12 workweeks of unpaid time to leave, with job protection, in the case of family or medical reasons. These 12 weeks can be utilized once every year and include receiving drug or alcohol treatment. Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia offers a range of addiction treatment programs that treat a variety of substance use disorders. If you’re battling addiction and want to get your life back on track, we can help.
Can You Work While in Rehab?
In some cases, yes, you can continue working while in rehab. Thanks to protections like the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act, a person receiving addiction treatment can’t be fired for going to rehab. However, not everyone can afford to take a leave of absence from work. Despite the many stereotypes about addicts, many have regular lives with bills to pay and families to support. In this case, certain outpatient rehab programs allow patients to attend meetings multiple times a week on a schedule that works around their work hours. Our intensive outpatient program in Philadelphia offers patients the freedom to transition back into work and other areas of their life in addiction recovery.
Not only can you work while receiving addiction treatment, but your employer may also require you to complete an addiction treatment program to keep your job. While this sounds scary, it would be a great opportunity to get the help you need. Employers who find out that one of their employees has violated their drug or alcohol policy may require them to sign a Return-to-Work Agreement that details the conditions an employee must fulfill before returning to work. You should be fully aware, and you should complete all of these conditions to ensure that you can keep your job after rehab.
Tips for Returning to Work After Rehab
If you’re returning to the same place of employment after rehab, you may be worried about what your coworkers or supervisor will say or how you’ll manage the stress of the workload. The ADA requires your employer to make certain accommodations, including keeping your personal information confidential, and the accommodations might allow you to adjust your work hours so you can continue treatment. However, while your employer cannot fire you simply for attending addiction recovery, they can let you go if your performance or conduct drops. Stress is one of the leading causes of addiction, but there are some things you can do to cope with work-related stress.
Some great tips for managing the causes of work-related stress include:
- Avoid gossip and other stressful situations
- Go outside for some air whenever you feel overwhelmed
- Reduce interruptions and stressors like email and chat notifications when possible
- Use time management and organization tools like planners, calendars, and to-do lists
- Have an answer in case coworkers ask about your absence
- Exercise at least three times a week
- Eat a good diet
- Continue attending recovery support groups
Banyan Philadelphia also offers a corporate recovery program specifically for industry workers who need addiction treatment and have important careers to get back to after rehab. We help our patients re-enter the workforce while ensuring they have everything they need for long-term sobriety.
So if you’re wondering, “Can I get my job back after rehab?” the answer is yes. Not only can you get your job back after addiction treatment, but there’s also protection set in place to prevent you from losing it in the first place.